2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appRetired doctors and nurses could be called back into service to help the NHS tackle the coronavirus epidemic, as part of an urgent "battleplan" being drawn up by the Government.
Ministers are considering allowing the "emergency registration" of staff who have left the health service, as well as encouraging firms to allow employees to work from home, in order to delay a possible pandemic in Britain if the country is unable to contain the virus.
They are also discussing whether to discourage unnecessary travel as part of a "social distancing" strategy to delay the peak of the outbreak to the summer.
The disclosures come as Boris Johnson prepares to launch an action plan on steps the Government will take if the coronavirus outbreak becomes a "sustained UK epidemic".
The Sunday Telegraph understands that the Government is planning on the basis that 2.3 million people could end up in critical care as a result of such an outbreak, under a "reasonable worst case scenario".
Last night, as the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK rose to 23:
- The Prime Minister personally urged the country to heed official advice on stopping the spread of the virus, including "the importance of washing our hands with soap."
- The Sunday Telegraph learned that Rishi Sunak, the new Chancellor, is poised to re-write parts of the budget amid concerns that the coronavirus outbreak could prompt a global recession
- The Government announced that Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, will hold regular briefings alongside Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, to update the public, following criticism of the Government's response so far
- The NHS’s urgent advice line was buckling under the strain of the crisis, with fears that hundreds of people were not getting through to their first port of call for advice
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appOf the three new cases confirmed yesterday two of them had recently travelled back from Italy, while the other had returned from Asia, Prof Whitty revealed.
The US also recorded its first death from the virus tonight as three cases were confirmed in patients who have had not travelled outside the country. Mr Trump is considering closing the border with Mexico, according to US media.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appMr Johnson has allocated a minister in each government department to lead its response to the outbreak, for example by overseeing the action taken by schools and businesses.
An updated action plan to be published this week will outline the steps that the Government will take to manage the outbreak if it becomes a sustained epidemic in Britain.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appOfficials said the plan would be adapted from existing contingency plans for a pandemic flu outbreak.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThe Government is currently attempting to contain the virus by transferring isolated cases to hospital and carrying out detailed tracing work to establish how Covid-19 was transmitted to them.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIn the event of a wider outbreak, ministers and the health service will instead move to "delay" the spread of the virus, after Prof Whitty said that "putting it back in time into the summer away from the winter pressures on the NHS … is a big advantage."
Plans under consideration for the "delay" phase of the Government's response include the "emergency registration of health professionals who have retired", including the introduction of "emergency indemnity coverage" for those returning to work temporarily.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThe Government is also considering encouraging firms to ask employees to work from home, to help contain the spread and reduce the economic disruption of companies shutting down altogether.
Yesterday it also emerged that ministers will bring forward emergency legislation to speed up the disposal of bodies and allow schools to teach children in larger class sizes, should lots of teachers fall ill.
Last night Mr Johnson said: “We must prepare for Coronavirus and listen to the advice of the Chief Medical Officer – especially about the importance of washing our hands with soap. We should be doing that for 20 seconds, and more often than we would normally think was necessary. This will make a real difference in stopping this virus spread.
“Coronavirus may very well be a challenge in the weeks and months ahead. But I have no doubt that with the help of the NHS and its incomparable staff this country will get through it – and beat it.”
Mr Hancock added: “The government and the NHS are working 24/7 to fight this virus, but cannot do this alone. Every single person has a role to play in helping to manage the spread of the virus - whether that’s washing your hands more often, catching your sneezes, and following clinical advice by calling NHS 111 not going to A&E if you develop symptoms.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThis week the Office for Budget Responsibility will provide a fourth and final set of economic and fiscal forecasts for the new Chancellor, ahead of next week's Budget.
Its previous set of forecasts were delivered before a series of warnings about the effect that the epidemic could have on global markets. Any significant shift in its final update before the March 11 budget would be likely to result in Mr Sunak having to re-write parts of the budget based on the new figures.
On Friday the World Health Organisation upgraded the global risk from the new coronavirus to "very high", saying the continued increase in cases and countries affected was "clearly of concern".
Meanwhile, a survey of small businesses by iwoca, which provides financing to small firms, reveals that three in ten (29 per cent) are opposed to the scrapping of a tax break for entrepreneurs - a measure that the Government has been planning to target to help fund its manifesto promises.
The Government is understood to be working on the basis that, in a worst case scenario, 70 per cent of the population could fall ill with coronavirus, of whom around 5 per cent, or 2.3 million, would need critical care.